The Government has decided to introduce some changes to the climate change Bill, which is currently making its way through the Dáil. These amendments are being proposed following extensive debate on the Bill both inside and outside the Oireachtas, as well as following representations from environmental NGOs such as Stop Climate Chaos.
One of these is the inclusion of an explicit statement in the Bill that the Climate Change Advisory Council shall be independent in the performance of its functions. There will also be an amendment to include a specific reference to the principle of climate justice. Climate justice links human rights and development to achieve a human-centred approach, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its resolution equitably and fairly.
Oisín Coughlan of Friends of the Earth gave a guarded welcome to the proposed changes but said that they did not go far enough. He said that there is still an absence of a binding 2050 target, and that the Government still won’t commit to having a national climate action plan before 2017, by which stage we are likely to have exceeded our 2020 targets.
New Biodiversity Strategy for Northern Ireland
The Strategy which is entitled ‘Valuing Nature was published by Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan. Its overall objective is to halt biodiversity loss up to 2020 by implementing over 50 high level actions. The actions include:
- restoring 240 hectares of ancient woodland;
- delivering grassland conservation training to over 500 landowners; and
- delivering peatland and wetland habitat restoration around the Lough Neagh basin.
The Strategy is downloadable at www.doeni.gov.uk/natural-policy-biodiversity-strategy-to-2020-2015.pdf.